Meet Cheetah, the villain from Wonder Woman 1984

In Wonder Woman 1984 – that is, Wonder Woman 2 – the Amazon played by Gal Gadot will have to face a new villain. Kristen Wiig , an actress from the ranks of Saturday Night Live , will play the deadly Cheetah, one of Wonder Woman’s oldest and most dangerous enemies.

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This incarnation of the villain seems to be combining aspects of all the versions that appeared in the comics. She is dangerous, ambitious and unpredictable, but she is also a tragic figure, doomed and out of control. But who is Cheetah?

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Among the countless enemies Wonder Woman has amassed over the years, none have proven as deadly or tenacious as Cheetah. We can consider him as Wonder Woman’s main nemesis.

nemesis

His power comes from Urzkartaga , a bloodthirsty plant-god of African origin. Worshiped as the central figure of a matriarchal tribe, the women of the tribe dress in leopard skins and perform human sacrifices to appease the divinity. More than Urzkartaga, they adore their consort: the cheetah or cheetah.

urzkartaga

Every year, the tribe chooses a virgin woman as a sacrifice to the god. She receives a mixture of the divine being’s blood mixed with that from human sacrifices, which gives her the powers of the Cheetah. To preserve these gifts, the woman must kill in the name of Urzkartaga and offer her blood to the plant-god.

However, Cheetah’s ruthless strength and savagery never quite match Wonder Woman’s love and compassion. Cheetah sees Wonder Woman as an enemy, but Diana sees her as a fallen friend who needs to be saved. The story of friendship and confrontation between the two women can give a lot of play and a memorable villain for the DC Cinematic Universe.

Powers and abilities

Like all characters with more than 75 years of stories behind them, there are many versions of the leopard woman that could have been chosen for the film. In the case of Cheetah, you have to focus on two, divided into two groups, the two Cheetahs of the golden age and the two Cheetahs of the current era.

The first two, Priscilla Rich and her niece, Deborah Domaine , did not possess superhuman abilities. They simply wore cheetah costumes and possessed great fighting skills.

first-incarnations

The modern incarnations of the Cheetah, Barbara Ann Minerva and Sebastian Ballesteros , were given supernatural abilities by Urzkartaga. Both villains were transformed into half-human, half-cheetah hybrids and granted enhanced strength, speed, durability, and heightened senses, as well as razor-sharp claws capable of tearing through Wonder Woman’s skin.

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Cheetah is one of Wonder Woman’s longest-running recurring villains, debuting in Wonder Woman #6 (1943). Its creators, William Moulton Marston and Harry.G. Peter , introduced Priscilla Rich as a jealous and self-centered debutante aristocrat who became a villain as a result of her personality disorder. From the beginning, Cheetah showed an unusual depth compared to the villains of the time, always striving to control the darker side of her. The envy between women, the frivolity of modern society and schizophrenia are the themes that Marston chose for this villain and that were already revolutionary at that time.

First apparition

Deborah Domaine was introduced in Wonder Woman #274 (1980). Rich’s niece, Domaine, was brainwashed by the terrorist organization Kobra into forcing him to take up her aunt’s mantle and fight Wonder Woman despite her friendship and admiration.

deborah-domaine

Following the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1985, DC drastically revamped Wonder Woman’s story and Cheetah’s role. Len Wein and George Pérez introduced the Barbara Ann Minerva version in Wonder Woman #7 (1987), making her the first Cheetah to possess superhuman powers and a connection to the gods.

George Perez

Barbara Ann Minerva is an ambitious archaeologist obsessed with ancient artifacts, especially those related to the gods. This leads him to ingest a chemical made by worshipers of Urzkartaga, yearning for the immortality the chemical would grant him. Unfortunately, the chemical was designed to be used by a virgin, causing Minerva to experience terrible pain in her human form and unquenchable bloodlust in her cheetah form, losing a little more of her humanity with each transformation.

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Minerva has remained in the role ever since, setting aside a brief period where she was replaced by Sebastian Ballesteros in Wonder Woman #170 (2001). He this has been the only man to assume the mantle to date.

sebastian-ballesteros

Minerva’s appearance, motivation, and powers have changed during that time, and she has sometimes been portrayed as more of an anti-hero than a true villain. The second Barbara Ann Minerva , born with the Rebirth initiative and current Cheetah, represents an unexpected mix between elements of the first Barbara and Deborah Domain. She’s basically the same villain, but with the twist that before she became the monster, she was Wonder Woman’s best friend.

cheetah-rebirth

Dr. Barbara Ann was the world’s only expert on Amazons, whom the army called upon Diana’s appearance in America, making them best friends during the princess’s first year of adventures.

Each time she transforms, Barabara is further from redemption, and she blames Diana for her state. Although at one point he managed to reverse the curse of the god Urzkartaga, he had to turn back into Cheetah to save Diana, and that is something that neither of them will forgive themselves or the other.